Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Haters to Lovers trope

I'm exactly one chapter in to this month's Uppercase subscription book, and I've already deduced that the plucky but penniless mechanic and the haughty rich boy are going to end up in love.  This is rather disturbing, because so far he has shown himself to be rude, classist, cruel, spoiled, selfish, etc. etc. etc.  I'm sure that events will unfold so that we learn his tragic backstory*, and/or so that as he falls in love with our heroine, he learns to be kinder**.  Or maybe it's all a front all along***, and he'll turn out to have been disguising his true noble nature.

Or I'm mistaken, and he's really going to be the bad guy.  In real life, after all, if you are suddenly put into close working relationship with someone who was always a jerk to you when you were in school together, you grit your teeth, complain to your friends, and just try to get through without getting fired.  But since this is a YA novel, if a strong male and strong female character clash in the first chapter--surely Cupid is hovering nearby.

I would love to be surprised.  I know conflict builds drama, but come on.  It's one thing if the initial dislike is caused by a different worldview, or a misunderstanding.  But so far, it just sounds like the guy is an ass, so I really don't want to end up getting all mushy about him.  I'm not complaning about this particular book though--after all, I've barely started it--so much as the pattern that exists, which is what's causing me to make this assumption.  (And anyway, the fact that I assume a boy and girl meeting in chapter one means they are destined to be together implies some lack of variety in plotting.)

What are your thoughts about this "I hate you, wait, no, I love you!" romance convention? 

* like Logan in Veronica Mars
** like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice
*** like what's-his-face in Red Queen, or, depending on how you look at it, Bruce Wayne.


  1. I really dislike the male protagonist being a jerk through most of the book and yet the female protagonist ends up falling madly in love with him. I'd love to see more romance story-lines with normal, nice guys!

  2. Ha! This post is awesome! Yes, I sometimes wonder about this trope as well. While I can appreciate a misunderstood bad boy with a heart of gold now and again, I get really frustrated when that heart of gold is buried under a bulletproof vest so thick you're hard-pressed to ever reach it! I don't like it when the love interest is just a plain jerk - especially to the guy she's supposed to fall for. And you're totally right - in real life, people who are this irritating generally stay that way!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  3. YES. This, exactly. And I think it's obviously not done well, if you can spot it a mile off. I file this under the same lack of believability as the "he's perfect in every way and I just didn't noticed him until HE noticed me!" trope, which makes me gag. I tried the enemies to lovers thing in high school, for years. It did not end well.

  4. The book did okay with it overall. It turns out the author was playing with a concept from a 1980s rom-com in which the snooty rich one gets a bump on the head, comes to with amnesia, and is fooled by the servant-type into thinking their roles are reversed. She did a variation on that with her rich boy and poor girl, which sort of allows the jerk to redevelop with a more appealing personality. But still. Not a great trope to import into real life.


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